Thursday, October 29, 2009

Happy Halloween 2009.....

CLICK HERE for "PSYCHO" movie preview: ...No this isn't our "Intercity Drive-In Sign", I don't have a picture of that. This is just a doctored up one from somewhere else!

Further to the post on April 26th 2009 titled Intercity Drive Inn(you can click here to go quickly back to it, and reminiscent of Halloween's past I am posting a few of my favourite horror movie posters mainly from the 1950's era. The Drive-In, what a great place to be with your honey, and especially during a horror flick. She's scared silly and you're so cool! Behave yourself, and don't fog up the windows! Are you too old to remember these? There are many Drive-In theaters that have re opened around our country and in the states. You haven't lived unless you have been to a drive-in movie. click on to enlarge!, and Happy Halloween 2009.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Lil's Place and Lil's Hobby Lobby.....

The first "Lil's Place" on the left. In the middle is the Lil's Hobby Lobby sign which was finally taken down this spring, and also a current photo of the building which has since been taken over by Chimo Lumber.

On the left is some of the model cars and prices of the time. In the middle was Lil's Hobby Lobby catalog cover from 1969 and the photo on the right shows the two hobby shops that were in the 1962 "Lakehead" telephone directory(which covered both cities of Fort William and Port Arthur)....note the MAfair and DIamond ahead of the phone numbers. These letters later became the prefix 62 and 34. Do you remember??

The above show some of the model car kits available at the time...and the photos below show a couple of the counter top displays that you would see at Lil's in the 1950's.

Paul and Lil Procup started their hobby business as far back as I can remember. I lived about 6 blocks from their first hobby shop at “Lil’s Place”, which was located on the corner of Franklin and Empire Ave. in Fort William(now Thunder Bay). This little corner store was part of their home which extended out to the curb on Franklin St.(still noticeable today), and in no time became much too small to run a hobby business. In the early 1950’s I would take my hard earned lawn mowing money, leaving a little aside to go roller skating or to the stock car races and head down to Lil’s to pick up a .98cent or $1.49 AMT or Monogram model kit and pretend I was building the real thing. This early model building(which I still do today) and also hanging around Kam Motors where my dad worked was the total inspiration for a myriad of full size hot rods(at 1:1 scale) that I had built through the years. Lil’s and Green’s were the only two listings in the 1958 and 1962 local phone books for hobby shops. For me, Green’s was just a bit too far(way over in Port Arthur) to ride my bike.
Lil’s place would later become Lil’s Hobby Lobby and move over to 550 S. Syndicate Ave. where they would run a very successful hobby and craft business for many more years. In the late 1960’s they had a huge slot racing track in their warehouse at the back end of the store and anyone and everyone who was into cars those days would head out to Lil’s to race their 1:25th scale slot racers. An icon in the slot racing scene at that time was Stromberg. To this day I still have my slot race cars(a late model and a sprint car).
We lost Paul and Lil in the last few years, but the great memories of Lil’s Hobby Lobby will live on. on photos to enlarge!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

More 1950's Stock Car Jockeys in Fort William, Ontario, and Riverlake Oil!

Here's a great shot of #83 Sam Myronuk, #98 Ross (Pappy) Fowler(yes Pappy drove #98 before he drove #10), and #88 Albert Massaro. In the right photo the only known driver is the far right #2 of Tom Dow...well maybe not, as most jalopies in this photo are from out of town. The open portion of the grandstand shown here was built later in the '50's to accommodate more spectators. It was built just north of the main grandstand and as the cars came out of turn 4. Oh Yes...always look for the cheapskates who wouldn't pay 25 cents to come in peering over the fences. Recognize any faces?? LOL!

.....and here is a shot that had us kind of befuddled. Way in the background is #60 Don Marsh climbing the rub rail near the CLE Coliseum entrance making everyone's head turn(neat shot). The big question mark is the big "RO" sign in the center of the pit area with the globed gas pump beside it. Thanks to old stock car jockey and friend Merv Dove, he informed us that "RO" stood for Riverlake Oil. Riverlake Oil is shown on this matchbook with the local company McEwen Petroleum Distributors, a local fuel supplier. McEwen would supply(at a cost of course) fuel to the stock cars at that time. Click on pictures to enlarge!

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Millionaire Drive Inn in Fort William, Ontario 1958...

Many a Friday and Saturday nights were spent parked under the car port at the Millionaire Drive Inn in my '49 Chevy with my girl friend at my side, chompin' down on some great burgers, onion rings and that cold Sno-Cap Root beer.....take me back!!!LOL
If you were a car-hop at the Millionaire then, I'd like to hear from you!!
The Columbia Grill photos.

Many thanks to Gary Petlow for sending me these incredible photos of our Millionaire Drive Inn that was built in about 1958 by his father Mike. Mike Petlow and his wife Jenny were owner operators of one of the most exciting drive-in restaurants to come to Thunder Bay(formerly Fort William), Ontario at that time.
These photos are an addition to a post I did back in July called May Street and Southern...from the Royal Fort to the DQ. You can click here to see that post or scroll down.
Before the Millionaire was built, the Petlow's ran the well known Columbia Grill on 123 S. May Street, with great success(photos of that restaurant are included here thanks to Gary again), and Jenny's parents, the Syroids had also ran the T&M Grill on the corner of Simpson and Leith St.
My father drank many cups of coffee and had many meals at the T&M, as it became the mainstay for all the Kam Motors Limited employees at that time.
As Gary stated, "When the circus came to town, dad did a promotional shot with the Shriners at the Millionaire. Dad was president of the Lakehead Shrine club and is the one NOT wearing a fez."
The photo with the giant chef, Sno-Cap Root Beer and the hamburger was the grand opening and Mike Petlow is shown on the far right with the chef's hat on.
The other photos show the car port(photo taken from May Street) and the cars under the port, both taken towards May Street.
The photos at the end show a before picture of where the Columbia Grill would be located on May Street(formerly Ralph Colisimo Shoe Repair) can also see the old city hall in the background. This photo was taken in 1950. The next photo shows the Columbia grill as it was for many years before it finally became Norma Jeans restaurant and is presently closed.
The last two photos show a news clipping of the Columbia taken in 1961 at their 10th anniversary. Their famous "Chicken in the Rough" dinner was only $1.10, and my Millionaire Drive Inn mug which I was very lucky to find.
Thanks once more to Gary for the great memorios in photos.....Enjoy!!
Mike and Jenny still reside in California, both living a very active lifestyle...WOW!!
Be sure to click on the link above to see the whole post about the corner where the Millionaire was built. Click on photos to enlarge.
NOTE: Sadly Mike Petlow passed away on June 27th 2014...a well known and well loved man.  His obituary is as follows....please click on to enlarge.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Destroying Deuces and local history in the 1950's....

Here's Ross(Pappy) Fowler in his model "A" Coupe before and after it was destroyed. In the wreck picture you can see the grandstand in the background. My historian friend Allan Yahn took the wreck photo. The car was so badly damaged that they couldn't take it away from the track that day, so Al went back the day after to take the photo. The third picture is the next car Pappy started racing, none other than a Deuce 3-window('32 Ford 3-window coupe). That steel body alone today would be worth 15 grand or so. Oh!...Pappy, why?? In those days, these coupes were just junk lying around...who would guess what would happen over the years to the vintage tin.

Here's one of Barry Kettering's jalopies. Its a '37 Ford Coupe. The picture on the left is taken at the CLE race track here in Thunder Bay(formerly Fort William) Ontario. The one on the right is taken in front of Bud's service(Bud Heidrick was Barry's sponsor at that time). Where Bud's Service was, today is Dave Knight Optical at 906 Victoria Ave.(the same service station building is still being used by Dave Knight). Across the street is the Safeway grocery store later to become Canadian Tire and is now the Sylvan Learning Centre and several other offices).

These photos show the '37 Ford smashed up(You can still see the Safeway store across the street which later became the Canadian Tire Store as previously mentioned), and to the right is Barry's new car, a '32 Ford 5-window coupe. Again, who was to know the value of these cars as the years went by. This coupe was pretty decent to start with and it once belonged to Bob Walker, who you can still see to this day driving around his cool vintage red model "A" pickup here in Thunder Bay.

What you see here is the same '32 Ford 5-window coupe totally destroyed parked at Burney's Taxi on 111 N. Brodie Street across from Wesley Church(111 N. Brodie St. does not exist is where the bus turn around is on Brodie Street...and this property is designated for a new court house next year). The wreck photos were taken in September of 1956. The brick wall in the picture on the right was the Metropolitan Store's back wall, which is now a discount store today within Victoriaville Center.

These last two photos of Pappy Fowler's, and Barry Kettering's '32 Ford were taken along the fence behind Bud's Service on Victoria Ave., as mentioned above. The brick building behind is gone and was replaced by the Fort William Clinic. The street is McKellar and the row of houses on the other side of the street would now be the back of the businesses in Centennial Square.
DO YOU REMEMBER?...If you do you are at least as old as me!!!...LOL.
The '32 Ford wreck pictures, the fence pictures and the #10 wrecked pictures were taken back in the 1950's by my friend Allan Yahn with his Kodak box camera. Thanks for some of these photos from the Allan Yahn Collection. Thanks for looking and again click on pictures to enlarge.